My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Here is a good question - does this book deserve all the hype? Yes ... maybe. Let's talk about it.
I added this to my TBR last year after reading so many good things about this book from Natasha Ngan. My sister gave it to me for Christmas and since I had the GORGEOUS book in hand it quickly moved to the top of my list. My first impression was those PINK pages are so amazing!
This year I'm dedicated to reading more books that are "different" - books I don't see myself in. More books with male protagonists, more books with LGBTQ characters, more books from different cultures, and more books outside of my preferred genres.
If you're looking for a book to break you out of a comfort zone, this one might be it. The warning at the beginning of the book reads, "Please be aware that this book contains scene of violence and sexual assault." This part of the book is handled beautifully, there is enough to make you painfully aware of the horror these "Paper Girls" are going through, but not so much that you leave the book feeling sick to your stomach (you know those books, I don't like to read those books).
So what I loved about this book was the GIRLPOWER - the Paper Girls hold no power in their current position, but that doesn't define them. They are fighting against the situation in the ways they know how. Either by accepting and adjusting or by literally fighting against it. I also loved the pacing of the book, part of the plot moved really quick, part of it moved slow and methodologically.
On the other hand, the world building is lacking which creates some plot holes that, as a reader, you're either going to find incredibly distracting or just have to accept and move on. The other thing I struggled with is the "instant romance" aspect. This part of the plot felt rushed - there were budding signs of feelings just realized on one page and then a full makeout session the next. Instant romance is never my jam.
Final thoughts: I'm torn between I loved this book and I didn't like this book. I think, in the end, I liked it more than I disliked it. The book makes you feel uncomfortable - but it also makes you think. It was an interesting subject matter for a YA book, but as the author said, these things happen and often times the easiest way to work through situations is through a book. I hope this helped the author heal and helps other girls too.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.HOPE (4673)
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